MasterCard bank cards issued by non-U.S. banks, as well as those issued by Stonegate Bank and the Banco Popular de Puerto Rico, as of Monday, June 27, can be used at ATMs in Havana, as announced by Irma Margarita Martínez, first vice president of the Central Bank of Cuba (BCC), during the First International Money Transfers, Payments & Forex Conference, being held in the capital, June 27-29.
She added that these operations have been made possible following the resolution of certain financial and legal aspects, a process in which the actions of MasterCard and the Cuban entities responsible for processing these transactions were crucial.
Prior to this announcement, cards were tested at certain ATMs in the capital with satisfactory results, demonstrating the possibility of extending this service throughout the country.
Irma Martínez added that this new possibility complements the already existing use of cards in shops and banks through point of sale (POS) terminals.
She also noted that Cuba is ready to continue expanding this service to cards issued by U.S. banks, should they so request.
However, to date, Stonegate Bank is the only U.S. financial institution authorized to issue cards to be used in Cuba. According to statements by Tania Fernández, responsible for operations with the island at the bank, as reported by the Cuban News Agency, some 500 new cards have been issued to customers for use in Cuba.
Meanwhile, the first vice president of the BCC clarified that while the use of the dollar in transactions between Cuba and the United States has been permitted since March, to date no such transaction has occurred, given the continued ban on Cuban banks opening correspondent accounts in U.S. banks.
The financial persecution of banks in third countries that operate with Cuba has created an unfavorable climate for U.S. financial institutions, which fear becoming victims of the blockade policy and facing millions of dollars in fines should they conduct transactions with the island.